6 Dec 2017

Hamilton man sentenced for abusing step-daughters

3:28 pm on 6 December 2017

The wife of a man jailed for sexually abusing her two daughters, his step-daughters, says he has ripped the heart out of her family.

Hamilton District Court

The man was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court Photo: RNZ

The 45-year-old man was today sentenced in the Hamilton District Court to 12-years in jail, with a minimum period of six years.

At trial last month he was found guilty of 18 of the 22 charges he faced, the most serious involving a girl from the age of eight.

The court heard that over a four-year period he committed sex acts on one girl starting from when she was eight years old and between two and three times a week.

One of the man's convictions related to a younger sister who he exposed himself to.

In a victim impact statement read in court, the woman said the shock and disbelief on hearing what her husband had done caused overwhelming nausea and was life-altering.

The first she heard of it was when returning home to find the police and child welfare officers there. Her daughter had gone to her school counsellor to tell what had been happening to her.

The woman described her husband as manipulative, cunning and calculating for grooming her daughter and threatening her if she told anyone.

She said her former husband had taken away the essence of her daughter's youth.

The woman told the court that her daughter's self-esteem and spirit was slowly destroyed over the four-years by her step-father.

She said he was a cruel man who was evil.

The girl, who is now 13, said in her victim statement that her step-father was vulgar, filthy and an evil and perverted person.

She said he stole her innocence and childhood and that she did not want to see him or think of him ever again.

In its submissions before sentencing, the Crown asked for a starting point of imprisonment of 17-years.

Judge Glen Marshall described the defendant as manipulative who had a front of respectability.

The judge said that had the older girl not gone to her school counsellor, then the offending would certainly have continued.

He said the man's defence at trial that the girl was attention seeking, had been put up to it by her mother, and had learnt all she accused him of from watching porn, was rejected by the jury and by him again today.

Judge Marshall said aggravating features included grooming the girl, her vulnerability, the scale of the offending and a breach of trust.

He said a pre-sentence report showed the man's unwillingness to accept responsibility for what he had done and that he still maintained his innocence.

Judge Marshall said the man is an untreated sex offender with a high risk of reoffending.

The man's name will now appear on a register of child sex offenders for the rest of his life.

'My daughter understands that she is believed'

The man's wife said a relief justice had been served and she was confident her daughter would get through the ordeal.

"The fact that 12 individuals on the jury came to the decision that he was guilty is enough, just so that my daughter understands that she is believed will help her heal and move forward with confidence."

She said he agreed with the judge's comments that he did not think the man had accepted responsibility for what he had done.

"It's clear from his body language, his reaction and continued arrogance that he hasn't taken ownership of his actions."

"As a professional liar, he believes his own lies," she said.

She said a weight had been lifted off her and her daughter's shoulders today.

"It's not a day of victory, but today is the end of a journey and relief.

"It's the beginning of our success."